I know I usually don't write about downer things on the blog, but since I'm trying to keep it real, since I think writing about it will keep me from having to tell the story over and over, and since I think it might help me to write it all, here goes. Oh, and if you don't have dogs, you probably will think this is the lamest thing you have ever read, so you can just skip it.
We had to find a new home for Brinkley, and he left to go to his new home this morning.
I will start out by saying we love Brinkley, he has been part of our family for almost three years, and he has been a wonderful dog.
But, since he was a puppy, he has had some temperament tendencies that I haven't loved, but I have worked really hard with him to get to overcome them.
I have been around poodles my entire life, and know what a correct poodle temperament is like. It's laid back, very chill, kind to all people, and a great family dog.
Brinkley was always a little high-strung from the beginning, so I worked with him by taking him to four different obedience classes. I would take him to the dog park to work on socializing him, and tried to take him to new places to get him over his nerves.
He has always "picked on" smaller dogs than him, and he has never been really great with children. When kids would run, he would try to chase them (which is NOT good when you have a dog that weighs 65 pounds and is 27 inches at the shoulder). And recently, he has started showing signs of aggression when we have had people over. He growled and kind of snapped at one of Mark's friends a few weeks ago, and then when we had a Bible study group over, he growled at some of those guys.
So of course, for me, I have been thinking, how in the world are we going to make this work when we have our own kids?
And yes, I worked with him. I would grab his muzzle and say NO BITE any time he snipped at anyone of anything (including the vacuum). I talked to trainers about his issues. I tried to keep him away from situations that would trigger him.
But he just seems to have gotten worse instead of getting better. Recently we had a family over and he actually snapped at one of them who wasn't even doing anything rude to him. And when that happened I knew it was the last straw. I knew we couldn't keep him.
But just to make sure I wasn't over reacting, I talked with the local poodle rescue, and with my mom, who has bred poodles for almost 20 years (www.echocreekpoodles.net). I explained Brinkley's temperament issues. My mom already knew about them and worded it very well when she said he was "unpredictable". Also, she said she didn't think I got a true poodle temperament in Brinkley, which unfortunately, I would have to agree about.
The first reaction of poodle rescue was to think it was my fault. And in theory I agree with them, that all dogs are trainable. Yet, at the same time, I'm not a novice to dogs. I know poodles. I've been around them my whole life. And I knew that Brinkley was not a good fit for our home. After the poodle rescue poodle knew everything I had done to work with Brinkley, they agreed that it was perhaps an inherent temperament issue with him. And, I actually felt at peace with the decision, as heart-wrenching as it was.
So, after several days of crying, Mark and I placed him in the care of poodle rescue. He will be at a foster home for a few days where he is evaluated and they will work with him on some of his challenges, and then they said they already have a wonderful home for him with a lady that is in her mid 50's. It sounds like it will be the perfect home. A one person home, no children, and the lady has a couple of poodles. I think perhaps it will be like a re-set button for Brinkley. He will have a new home with a new parent that loves him and he can learn his manners a little better. So I think everything will work out well for Brinkley.
Of course Mark and I are just crushed. We feel terrible. Mark now thinks he going to be a horrible parent, and I of course assured him that was not the case. We loved Brinkley like a family member and will miss him terribly. Having to leave Brinkley with the adoption lady was one of the hardest things I have had to do in a really long time. I don't know why I even bothered putting make-up on.
Anyway, I know this is really depressing, but I just wanted to let everyone know what was going on.
On the brighter side, we have decided to get a new, smaller dog, that we will have and then wait until we get a home to get another standard.
So, this post is for Brinkley. We miss you already, buddy, but we know you are going to a great home. We love you.